Video: Fancy some vegetables grown underwater?

Fancy a head of red cabbage, or maybe some tomatoes – all grown underwater? Now you can get them, courtesy of one innovative project.

The Italian experiment Nemo’s Garden has, over the past five years, been developing a concept unheard of to most people – growing normal vegetables, such as beans and strawberries, underwater.

The project is described by the company as an “alternative system of agriculture, especially dedicated to those areas where environmental conditions, economical or morphologic reasons make plants growth extremely difficult”.

Established by businessman Sergio Gamberini, Nemo’s Garden is a project first started by Gamberini’s business Ocean Reef Group – with other partners since joining in the venture.

The project was first tested with a number of small transparent balloons – sinking them, filling them with air while underwater, anchoring them and ultimately, planting seeds in containers inside the balloons.

These balloons have since been replaced with more endurable biospheres, more sensors and cabling – and vegetables have been grown in a hydroponic culture.

Also Read: Organic farming on a shelf with hydroponics

Sunlight heats the interior creating the right temperature to grow, according to the crew behind the project. Seawater in the pod evaporates and condenses on the roof, which then drips back down as freshwater for the plants. The underwater plants are tended to and farmed by scuba divers.

The objective of the project was to utilise the properties of large bodies of water – constant temperature, combined with the natural evaporation of a surface of liquid in contact with an air space – in an attempt to build an underwater greenhouse.

Creators of the Nemo’s Garden project claim it to be eco-friendly, self-sustainable and ecological – highlighting its minimal interaction with its environment and use of renewable energy. The plants grown inside do not need pesticides.

underwater
Image source: Nemo’s Garden

The project uses hi-tech equipment and sensors to keep tabs on the plants and their surrounding conditions, with internet-connected devices in place to monitor progress.

While such a project may appear outlandish in Ireland, from an international perspective it gives promising signs of another outlet for food production – particularly given the severity of soil erosion in some parts of the world today. Is this a sign of things to come in the future?

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